There’s nothing quite like the sound of a 12-string guitar.
With eight double-octave and four unison strings ringing simultaneously, the 12-string creates a beautifully shimmering subterfuge of two guitars playing together. In the history of acoustic guitars, the 12-string is a relative newcomer whose origin is somewhat unclear.
Yet for all its novelty, classic songs like “Hotel California” and “Free Falling” have bestowed upon it an enduring appeal among guitarists, who use it to evoke wonder and awe for its distinctive doubled-string sound.
For the most part, traditional 12-string acoustics have come in dreadnought and jumbo-sized body styles, but now, Taylor Guitars continues to impress and evolve with its 562e 12-Fret, a smaller-bodied 12-string acoustic with thunderous projection and sweetly focused response, making it a true marvel that could be considered one of the finest 12-string acoustics available.
Taylor master guitar designer, Andy Powers, who designed the 562e, believes that marrying a 12-Fret Grand Concert body style to 12 strings encourages not only an efficiently compact design but also a comfortable playing experience for a 12-string. Powers achieves this by using a 24 7/8-inch scale length, which proportionately decreases the fret spacing for effortless fretting. Combined with bridge placement near the center of the lower bout, this allows the guitar to have a slightly slinkier string tension and accommodates a much more intimate playing position.
The rest of the guitar’s construction is flawless throughout. The 562e benefits from Powers’ innovative Performance bracing, which utilizes a bracing pattern optimized specifically for the guitar’s shape and woods which results in more flexibility and louder projection. Tropical Mahogany is used for the 562e top, back and sides, and is finished with an exquisite medium-brown stain with shaded-edge sunburst across its body and neck. Other stunning appointments include a faux tortoiseshell- and grained-ivoroid rosette, faux tortoiseshell binding and a grained ivoroid century fretboard inlay. The guitar comes complete with Taylor’s warm- and natural-sounding Expression System 2 electronics.
For many years, 12-string acoustics were often difficult to play because of taut string tension, high action and bigger neck profiles to accommodate its 12 strings. As a result, Taylor Guitars has a long and successful history of tackling these issues by making its 12-strings more playable with smaller necks and lower action. The 562e has the lowest action I’ve ever seen on a 12-string, with no dead or choked notes. Taylor’s comfortably slim neck profile is precisely executed, making it feel uniformly even all the way up to its heel and allowing your thumb to reach over the fretboard for complex chording.
One of the first things I noticed is just how incredibly comfortable the 562e is to play. Its compact body and short-scale length made me feel so connected to the guitar that I got lost in its charm. Its supple midrange voice sounds vibrantly sweet when fingerpicked, but the 562e also sings loudly when strummed, thanks to its tropical mahogany construction, which produces an articulate and smooth top end with plenty of chime. It’s one of my favorite acoustics at the moment, and has also stopped me from regarding a 12-string as merely an accompaniment tool.
STREET PRICE: $3,538
MANUFACTURER: Taylor Guitars, taylorguitars.com
• The smaller yet full-sized Grand Concert body shape makes the 562e 12-fret a physically enjoyable playing experience and projects rich and articulate acoustic tones.
• The built-in Expression System 2 electronics is simple to use and sounds phenomenal in a live setting.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Featuring a compact 12-fret Grand Concert body and gorgeous tropical mahogany construction, the Taylor Guitars 562e 12-Fret combines the perfect balance of low action playability and syrupy sweet 12-string jangle.